He Just Decided

It is totally interesting to me and sometimes baffling to me what happens in a person’s life that leads them to become a disciple of Christ.

The past couple of years, I have had more people come to me and tell me about their new-found or re-found belief, or at least their journey to belief that is a couple of steps from true belief in Jesus Christ.  It happened again on Sunday.

A young man came to me after the spiritual time and asked if he could talk with me.  He revealed that he had chosen to be a Christian.  I smiled and inside I’m doing back flips.  Then he gave a condensed version of his journey in and out and back into faith.  Tuesday, we visited a little longer and I asked him to tell me more of his story.

He had been a part of a Christian family, but because of the difficulties and troubles he has experienced in his life, he had given up on their faith.  It appears that their faith was not his own.  He went through a series of changes and beliefs, from doubt and skepticism, to disbelief, even considering atheism and Satanism.  But nothing answered his questions and fulfilled his longing to understand and be accepted in spite of his weaknesses, failures and the outside stuff that came down on him.

He listened as Cliff, and Brian, and Ben, and I have shared with him and the others from the Bible about the lessons in the Bible over the past few months.  He watched our lives and saw that we cared and were consistent in caring and sharing.  More importantly, he was impacted by another student who has taken hold of faith over the past couple of years and chosen to follow Christ.

I think he wanted to share this with me because he recognizes me as an authority figure.  I feel privileged to have him place his trust in me and want to let me know about and have me help him grow in his faith.

He revealed to me a sense of peace and contentment, even though he is experiencing the same crap he was before.  So we talked about Job and the crap he went through and his steady faith in God.  Job had questions, but he never wavered in belief.  This young man is willing to be like Job, faithful to God through the crap.

He is coming out of life that resists God and has uncovered faith and turned toward God and accepting God’s love and mercy and grace.

bloggingthechurch

Advertisements

Making a Difference

One of the gifts that I have and exercise a lot that comes really naturally is encouragement.  I have this yearning to build people up.  Maybe that’s why I have invested so much time and effort with teens  in the residential facility I volunteer at.

We use the Bible to teach lessons to help the students learn self-worth and encourage personal growth.  Some of the lessons are on forgiveness, trust, hope, honor, telling the truth.  My last devotion was on acceptance.

I try very hard, through encouragement, to help them scale new heights in personal trust and confidence, self-worth, and strengthening their ability to have and develop solid relationships with significant and important people in their lives; parents, friends, teachers, and others.

Here are some of the things that have happened with a few of the students.

  • A couple of Catholic students returned to their faith and trust in God, exploring that faith through Bible reading, study and prayer.
  • Helped one student with a Jewish and Catholic background explore what the Old Testament says about homosexuality and her struggle with it.
  • Several students came to believe in God.  Both weren’t sure and even had family telling them there was no God.
  • Several students learning to trust others.
  • Several are exploring faith in God.  They already believed, but hadn’t had trust and faith…yet.
  • And I heard today that one of the mentor’s was communicating with the rest of the staff at the facility that a couple of the boys have been encouraged just in the past week or so.
  • There are a lot more stories I could share.

I am not the only one leading them Biblically and spiritually.  We have a few others who invest in the students too and they are helping affect positive spiritual change in many of the students lives.

Please don’t think I am blowing my horn, trying to praise myself.  I am explaining something that is very real that I get to be a part of.  But is also important.

It’s important because these teens need the encouragement.  It could be the difference between success and failure in their lives.  I fully intend to help them succeed with their life.  If I have the opportunity to invest the gift God has given me in other people, I will.

bloggingthechurch

At LOOOONG Last!

Working with troubled teens is important to me.  It’s not that it is rewarding, it is and I’m not that selfish and vain, that’s not what I’m looking for.  What it is, is the help and encouragement that is made in their lives.

I have worked with teens in a particular residential facility for 2 1/2 years.  For most of that time, I have been responsible for what is called “spiritual time” on Sunday’s.  It’s not church, though a couple of the kids have called it that.  It’s not a conversion class or proselytization time, it is to help the kids learn and grow and build their self-worth with teachings from the Bible…lessons on trust, forgiveness, respect, and such.  At the same time, many of the students have told me what their spiritual struggles are, from wanting to believe in God to how to deal with life or the difficulties of life and many more.

About two years ago, some of the students asked for a weekly Bible study.  When we were certain they had a real interest and it wasn’t a means to gain attention or avoid programing, we set about trying to establish one.  The final couple of hurdles are being hurdled (you don’t jump hurdles, you hurdle them).  One was scheduling.  The other, cirriculum.  We have crossed those hurdles are getting the materials together, organizing the class and will begin in a couple of weeks.

An added bonus is that the students can also receive school credit for the Bible study.

Thank God that he is opening doors to teach a small portion of this young generation about his word.

bloggingthechurch